It wanted to be dead, I was sure of it.
No matter what I did, the dumb thing always looked like it was begging me to stop watering it so that it would finally be put out of its misery. I’d tried watering it more and watering it less. I’d tried fertilizer and different soil. At one point I was convinced it was depressed because it thought the aqua pot I originally had it in clashed with its orange petals, so I moved it to a boring black one.
But nothing helped. The spunky little plant I’d bought to cheer up my backyard with its vivid colors just looked like it wanted life to be over.
Believe me when I tell you these pictures make it look like it had a chance. It got much, much worse after I took these. 😦
It broke my heart. I’m no green thumb, but I’d at least thought maybe there was a little plant-loving color in my hands somewhere. I don’t care about tending plants to their full potential (gardening’s just not my thing), but I don’t mind babysitting them and making sure they don’t wither away unnoticed. I’ll even put up a fight for one that looks like it has a chance. But this guy wasn’t having it. What started out as a vibrant eye-catcher dwindled away little by little. First the bright petals withered and fell. Then some of the larger leaves dropped off. The leaves that stayed began to appear yellowed and were more widely spaced, giving the plant an overall “I give up” feel to it. Eventually the tips of the stems browned a little and even seemed slightly shriveled.
I have no idea why I didn’t throw it away, but thankfully I didn’t because it never actually died. Those few scraggly leaves held on, and while they never regained their original deep shade of green, they also didn’t turn brown or fall off. The bottoms of the stems remained green too, and so I let the plant sit outside to enjoy whatever was left of its life in peace. I stopped watching it, convinced it was on its way out.
And then one day I happened to look out the window expecting to see an obviously dead plant – and was surprised to see that in fact, it was quite the opposite. It was blooming! The beautiful and dainty orange petals were back, and there were bunches of them! I couldn’t believe it. Somehow this plant had fought to stay alive and had bounced back.
It’s happened again and again, without any real rhyme or reason to the time of year, weather, or temperature. One year it started blooming again in the summer, and another year in the fall. I’ve come to learn that it will seem to “die” again, but that I need to trust that whatever keeps it going is still holding on tightly, and that when it’s ready it will begin to blossom again.
This little plant has become such a metaphor for my faith.
Sometimes I go through stages in my life where I just don’t feel like my walk with Christ is blooming. I feel I’ve got nothing beautiful to offer Him, so I start to wither. I become disconnected from my church, from prayer, from the Word, from God. I know that He’s always there for me, but for whatever reason I just feel like I’m less than I know I’m capable of being. I become aware that, like my plant, I’m shriveling up and haven’t got as much to offer as I have in the past.
But in the same way my plant has something inside that refuses to give up on it – something inside that knows the beauty is in there and fights until that beauty is shared with the world – I have that same something inside of me. I remember seeing a painting once of Jesus knocking on the outside of a door without a doorknob. A man was on the other side, looking up at the door… and his side had the knob. The point of the painting was that Jesus is patiently knocking and waiting for us to open it up – He’s just not one to force Himself in.
Just like my plant has its down days, I’m going to have mine. Just like it doesn’t give up and is willing to bloom again, I must be the same way. Jesus is ready for me to blossom anytime I am. And He won’t throw me out just because I’m struggling.
When I think of this plant, I’m convicted to stay strong in my faith – to read my Bible more, to pray more, to listen for His direction more. And to not for one second believe that my faith has died. I’ve blossomed before, and I know without a doubt – with His help – I can do it again. ❤